Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mary Mother of God (C)

Nm 6:22-27; Gal 4:4-7; Lk 2:16-21

The Catholic Church joins the whole world in celebrating the beginning of a new Universal Calendar Year. We gather to celebrate the Eucharist in order to thank the Lord for all the graces of the past year and to ask Him to continue blessing our families and friends with love, joy and peace.

The Church assigns the first day of every year as the solemnity of Mary, the mother of God. Mary is not a goddess, but since she is the mother of Jesus who is “God became man”, she truly is the mother of God.

Being the mother of Jesus, Mary also became the mother of the Church. She is the ecclesial mother who will provide Christians with maternal care and protection throughout the year.

By honoring Mary on the first Calendar day, Christians are encouraged to emulate her example every day of the year. The Blessed Virgin is the model of a faithful disciple of Jesus. She is not only the first human being to receive the Word; she also is the first to follow Him.

A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said “I don't think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat.

Is the man of the house home?” they asked.

No”, she replied. “He’s out.”

Then we cannot come in”, they replied.

In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened.

Go tell them I am home and invite them in!”

The woman went out and invited the men in.

We do not go into a House together,” they replied.

Why is that?" she asked.

One of the old men explained: “His name is Wealth,” he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, “He is Success, and I am Love.” Then he added, “Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home.”

The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. “How nice!” he said. “Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!”

His wife disagreed. “My dear, why don’t we invite Success?”

Their daughter was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: “Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!”

Let us heed our daughter’s advice,” said the husband to his wife. “Go out and invite Love to be our guest.”

The woman went out and asked the 3 old men, “Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest.”

Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other 2 also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success: “I only invited Love, Why are you coming in?”

The old men replied together: “If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would’ve stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success!”

(The story is from an unknown author)

Like Mary, may we all welcome Jesus, the perfect embodiment of love, so that true joy and happiness will reign in our homes and in our hearts!

Happy New Year to all of us!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holy Family (C)

Sir 3:2-6, 12-14; Col 3:12-21; Lk 2:41-52

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.

She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, "Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?”

Her mother replied, "Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hair turns white.”

The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, "Mom, how come all of grandma's hairs are white?”

(The story is from an unknown author)

The first Sunday after Christmas is the feast of the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus. The Holy Family provides us with a beautiful model of an ideal Christian family. We see in the person of Joseph an ideal husband and father – one who is God-fearing, just and righteous, silent worker, good provider and protector; in Mary, we find an ideal wife and mother – one who is prayerful, simple, good listener, attentive and kind-hearted; and in Jesus, we have an ideal child – one who is obedient, respectful and gracious.

The readings give us at least three essential ingredients of a Christian or a holy family. First, for a family to be holy, members must put God at the centermost part of their lives. In the time of Jesus, religious practices, like the Feast of Passover, were people's ways of acknowledging their dependence on God. Regularly, the family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus, like other Jewish families, would go to the synagogue or to the temple to worship and honor God. They had come to believe that without God they could not survive and flourish as a people.

It is the supreme duty of parents to educate their children, especially in the knowledge of God. Parents are the first evangelizers, the first catechists to their children. They are to lead their children in praying and in participating actively every Sunday worship. Their kind words and actions would facilitate their children's understanding of how loving and gracious is our Father in heaven.

Second, for a family to be Christian, members must show respect and love for one another. Saint Paul says: “Wives be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord” (Col 3:18). Husbands are the head of the family, but they rule by serving. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul clearly states: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church” (5:25). Just as Christ offered his entire life for the good of the Church, husbands also must give themselves in service to their family.

The love and respect that married couples give to one another is crucial to the total maturation of children. Experience would tell us that children who grew up from loving families are most likely to become good citizens and to succeed in life. While those who are brought up in a troubled or dysfunctional families would easily become problematic and destructive.

Together, spouses have to bring up their children kindly. In giving discipline, parents must avoid inflicting physical and emotional harm to their children. In the gospel, Mary and Joseph express to the young Jesus their deep concern as parents in a very respectful manner: “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety” (Lk 2:48). Often, polite words would be enough to make children understand parental love.

By obeying parents, children would please the Lord (Col 3:20). The first reading says that those who honor parents would be rewarded and cleansed from their sins (Sir 3:3-6). Kindness toward old people would remain in God’s memory (Sir 3:14).

And third, for a family to be holy, members must be willing to forgive one another’s fault. Saint Paul encourages families to maintain the virtues of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. They are to bear with one another and forgive one another. If one has a grievance against another, he must emulate the Lord by extending unconditional forgiveness (Col 3:13).

Conflicts among members in a family are quite common nowadays. In this modern and excessively materialistic world, emotional bonds between married couples, between siblings and between cousins are greatly weakened. The nature of our jobs, businesses and even recreation have affected seriously the amount and quality of time we give to each other. If there is no strong emotional bond between members in a family, what would keep them meaningfully together?

The holy family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus would remind us that true joy and happiness is only possible when there is intimacy and affection between people. Let us not allow material things and our desire for wealth to take away our time for each other. Whenever there is conflict in our family, let us be first to extend a reconciling hand, regardless of who is the offender and the offended party. May we always remember that good relationships are much more important than money and any material possession.

A little boy greets his father as he returns from work with a question: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?” The father is surprised and says, “Look, son, not even your mother knows. Don’t bother me now, I’m tired.” “But Daddy, just tell me please! How much do you make an hour?” the boy insists. The father finally gives up and replies, “Twenty dollars.” “Okay, Daddy,” the boy continues, “Could you loan me ten dollars?” The father yells at him, “So that was the reason you asked how much I earn, right? Now, go to sleep and don’t bother me anymore!”

At night the father thinks over what he said and starts feeling guilty. Maybe his son needed to buy something. Finally, he goes to his son's room. “Are you asleep, son?” asks the father. “No, Daddy. Why?” replies the boy. “Here's the money you asked for earlier,” the father said. “Thanks, Daddy!” replies the boy and receives the money. The he reaches under his pillow and brings out some more money. “Now I have enough! Now I have twenty dollars!” says the boy to his father, “Daddy, could you sell me one hour of your time?”

(The story is from an unknown author)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

4th Sunday of Advent (C)

Mi 5:1-4a; Heb10:5-10; Lk 1:39-45

“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb’” (Lk 1:41-42).

Why was Mary blessed among women? First of all, Mary was blessed because she got the highest honor ever granted by God to a human being: the motherhood of God’s only Son. Why God chose a lowly human being to be the mother of His Son would remain a great wonderment for all theologians. It is no secret, however, that God often gives preference for the little ones, the simple and the humble. In the first reading, for example, the prophet Micah predicted that God would choose Bethlehem, the littlest among Judah’s clan, to be the Messiah’s place of origin (Mi 5:2).

Mary was blessed among women not only for the conception of Jesus but also because she remained faithful to God’s will all her life. In the gospel, Jesus teaches that obedience to God’s will is the central element in our relationship with him. To the woman who exclaimed “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that you sucked”, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk 11:27-28). In another occasion, he said, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it” (Lk 8:21). Mary was blessed because she was the first of all disciples, the most obedient among God’s children.

As we enter the final phase of our preparations for Christmas, the Church would like us to emulate Mary’s example of generous self-giving. During the annunciation, the angel told Mary that God has chosen her to be the mother of the Divine Savior. She was also informed about the pregnancy of her cousin Elizabeth. The gospel says that immediately after the annunciation, Mary traveled in haste to Judah not to boast of her special honor but to provide assistance to her cousin who was carrying a baby in her old age. Mary was not only ready to serve God; she was also quick to help others in need. Indeed, she did not have to be prompted; she went quickly.

During this Christmas season, it would be very meaningful if, like Mary, we begin to consider how we can provide genuine assistance to others who are less fortunate. Ordinarily, we would like to wonder “What are we going to receive this Christmas?” and “Who will give us the best Christmas present?” The gospel, however, would like us to consider “What can we meaningfully give this Christmas?” and “Who are the people that greatly need our Christmas gifts?”

The prayer of Anna Lee Edwards McAlpin is meaningful for the Christmas season:

Help me have a love for others

That surpasses "self" or gain;

Teach me how to share their sorrow,

Bear with them through stress and pain.

May I never do a favor,

Hoping glory to receive,

Just because I did my duty

And a troubled heart relieved.

May I never be "self-righteous,"

But remember well that He stated in the Holy Scriptures,

"This thou doest unto Me.”


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ika-3 nga Domingo sa Adbyento (C)

Sofonias 3:14-18; Filipos 4:4-7; Lucas 3:10-18

Paglipay sa kanunay! Kini mao ang dakong hagit sa Simbahan kanato niining ika-3 nga Domingo sa Adbyento. Kita giawhag nga magmalipayon tungod kay nagkaduol na ang pag-abot sa Ginoo.

Unsa man ang makapalipay sa tawo? Ang uban kanato malipay sa pagkaon, ilabi na kon adunay litson o kalderetang kanding. Ang uban mobati og kalipay diha sa ilimnon nga makahubog sama sa bugnaw kaayo nga beer. Aduna puy mga tawo nga malipay sa pagdula og sports sama sa tennis o basketball. Samtang ang uban malipay sa kwarta o sa mga butang materyal sama sa nindot nga celfone, laptop computer, ipod, mahalon nga bag ug sapatos. Kining klaseha sa kalipayon pwede natong tawgon og “ordinaryong kalipay”. Dili kini mao ang matang sa kalipay nga giawhag sa atong liturhiya karong Domingoha.

Adunay kalipay nga makab-ot sa tawo pinaagi sa pagbuhat og maayo. Labing siguro, kitang tanan nakabati na niining matang sa kalipay tungod kay sa daghang higayon nakahimo man kita og mga dalaygong buhat sa atong kinabuhi. Pananglitan, mibati kita og kalipay sa dihang gitabangan nato ang atong silingan nga makapatambal sa iyang sakit. Mibati usab kita og kalipay sa dihang nakahatag kita og saktong tambag sa usa ka higala. Nindot usab ang atong gibati sa dihang naluwas nato ang usa ka tawo gikan sa disgrasya. Kining maong kalipayon pwede natong tawgon nga “makahuloganong kalipay”. Ug kining matanga sa pagbati mao ang gusto sa Simbahan nga atong maangkon niining panahon sa Adbyento.

Diha sa ebanghelyo, dihay tulo ka hut-ong sa mga tawo nga miduol kang Juan Magbubunyag ug nangutana, “Unsa may angay namong buhaton?” Giila sa mga tawo si Juan nga usa ka propeta o balaang sulugoon sa Dios ug gusto sila masayod gikan kaniya unsa ang matang sa kinabuhi ang ilang sundon aron makabaton og kaluwasan. “Unsa may among buhaton?” Di ba angay usab kitang mangutana niini karon? Atong sabton ang mga tubag ni Juan tungod kay kini makatabang gayod kanato sa pagkab-ot og makahuloganong kalipay.

Sa daghang mga tawo, si Juan miingon, “Kadtong adunay duha ka sapot angay nga mohatag sa wala, ingon man ang adunay pagkaon.” Usa kini ka tawag sa pagkamanggihatagon. Si Juan nagpahinumdum kanato nga ang isigkatawo atong igsoon, ug diha sa iyang kawad-on, angay lamang nga ato siyang tabangan. Wala kita sugoa nga ihatag nato ang tanan kondili nga atong ipaambit ang unsay sobra kanato. Dili ba gud lain nga samtang nanimaho nang suok ang uban natong biste, adunay atong silingan nga walay sinina?

Sa mga kobrador sa buhis, si Juan miingon, “Ayaw paningil og sobra sa gitakda.” Usa kini ka tawag sa pagkamakiangayon. Ang propeta nagpahinumdum kanato sa paggamit sa atong gahum sa maayong paagi. Dili maayo nga magpadato kita sa kaugalingon pinaagi sa pagpanikas ug pagpamintaha sa uban. Nindot kini nga pahimangno para sa atong mga igsoon nga nagtrabaho diha sa gobyerno o kadtong anaa sa habog nga posisyon sa katilingban. Dili ba ngil-ad kaayo paminawon nga atong pakan-on ang atong mga anak pinaagi sa bahandi nga atong gikawat gikan sa katawhan?

Ug sa mga sundalo, ang propeta miingon, “Ayaw'g panaugdaog ni pamasangil og bakak kang bisan kinsa ug ayaw'g reklamo sa imong sweldo.” Usa kini ka tawag sa pagkamatarong. Si Juan nagpahinumdum kanato sa pagmatinud-anon sa atong trabaho ug pagpanerbisyo. Gisoholan kita sa saktong sweldo ug angay lamang nga magtrabaho kita sa tinuoray. Dili ba lain tan-awon nga gamiton nato ang atong gahum sa pagyatak sa katungod sa uban ug sa pagdaot sa integridad sa mga tawo nga maoy gikuhaan sa atong sweldo?

Sa ikaduhang pagbasa, si San Pablo nagdapit kanato sa paglipay kanunay uban sa Ginoo. Kitang mga Kristiyanos magmalipayon dili sa bahandi ug gahum kondili diha sa pagpakig-uban sa Dios. Mabati nato ang makahuluganong kalipay kon kita magsugod pagpuyo nga manggihatagon, makiangayon ug matarong.

3rd Sunday of Advent (C)

Zeph 3:14-18; Phil 4:4-7; Lk 3:10-18

The third Sunday of advent is called “Gaudete Sunday” (Gaudete is the Latin word for “rejoice”, which is taken from the first word of today’s entrance antiphon: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near.”). The liturgy is calling us to be joyful because the day of the Lord’s coming is drawing near.

Some of us, for some reasons, may not be thrilled that the season of Christmas is fast approaching. For what good is Christmas if we are poor, or sick, or broken-hearted. We have learned to believe that Christmas is only for the moneyed, for the healthy and for lovers. Somehow we have forgotten that Christmas, primarily, is for the less fortunate among us.

Today’s gospel encourages us to do something so that Christ’s coming would be meaningful for us and for others. The people, who had heard John the Baptist prophesying about the coming of the Messiah, asked him, “What must we do?” They wanted to make sure that the Anointed One would find them well prepared for the great feast of God’s reign. The answers of John provide us with some important tips for a colorful celebration of Christmas.

First: “He, who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise” (Lk 3:11). The season of advent invites us to consider others who are less fortunate. We are called to provide assistance – be it spiritual, emotional, or material – to a neighbor in need. John does not ask that we give away everything; he only asks that we share what we have or that we practice compassion. Thus, it would be meaningful if during this season we will try to identify people who are in great need of our help. After doing this, we will try to do what we can to make their life a little bit easier.

Second: “Collect no more than is appointed you” (Lk 3:13). John’s admonition to the tax collectors is a way of telling us that we are to deal with others fairly and justly. We have to use prudently whatever authority we have over others, keeping in mind that it is always wrong to take advantage of people’s vulnerability. The season of advent provides us with the opportunity to make reparations for whatever injustice we have done to others.

And third: “Rob no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your wages” (Lk 3:14). John’s advice to the soldiers is also a good reminder that our professions must be practiced with honor and integrity. It is not right that we use our position or authority to intimidate others or to enrich ourselves. The season of advent challenges us to remain humble and to use our power to serve the good of others.

Saint Paul is urging us to be “always happy in the Lord” (Phil 4:4). Disciples will find happiness “in the Lord”, not in material things or worldly honor. The joy of Christians is in living fully the Christian life – in being generous, fair and righteous in the eyes of God and of people.

Once upon a time, a seeker went from land to land to discover an authentic religion. Finally, the seeker found a group of extraordinary fame. They were known for the goodness of their lives and for the singleness of their hearts and for the sincerity of their service.

I see everything you do,” the seeker said, “and I'm impressed by it. But, before I become your disciple, I have a question to ask: Does your God work miracles?”

Well,” the disciples said to the seeker, “It all depends on what you mean by a miracle. Some people call it a miracle when God does the will of people. We call it a miracle when people do the will of God.”

(The story is from an unknown author)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Immaculate Conception (C)

Gn 3:9-15, 20; Eph 1:3-6, 11-12; Lk 1:26-38

The Church defined as a dogma of Faith that from the first moment of her conception in the womb of her mother Anne, Mary was preserved from Original Sin. Every human being is infected with original sin from birth, but Mary was preserved from that because God prepared her to be the mother of His begotten Son, Jesus.

What does the feast of the Immaculate Conception tell us today?

Importantly, the feast reminds us that sin is ugly and the grace of God is beautiful. Our first reading describes to us the ugliness of sin – there is shame, guilt and anxiety. We need to realize that Adam and Eve’s experience is our experience, too.

When Adam and Eve had eaten of the fruit from the forbidden tree they went into hiding. They were afraid and embarrassed. Is this not our own experience when we sinned? When we do something bad, we feel nervous and scared. That’s the ugliness of sin.

When God was looking for his beloved creatures, Adam answered from his hideout, “I am here but I am afraid, because I am naked.” When we do something wrong, we lose our face. We see our nakedness. That’s the ugliness of sin.

When God said, “Have you eaten from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat?” the man replied, “Don’t blame me; blame that woman you gave me.” And Eve said, “Don’t blame me; blame that snake in the grass.” This is the ugliness of sin – we become proud, we become self-righteous. When we sin, we often make excuses and we tend to pass the blame on others. We develop the bad habit of “passing the buck.”

On the other hand, the second reading and the gospel tell us that the grace of God is beautiful. In the second reading we hear: God has chosen us to be his children. Is there anything more beautiful than to be called a child of God? God promised that he will not abandon us. God will save us in Jesus. We will be victorious over sin because Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Christ has chosen us in him, even before the foundations of the world, to be holy and blameless in his sight.

The gospel is a beautiful story of an ordinary woman highly favored by God. The story of Mary was one of peace, love and intimacy. There was the assuring presence of the angel, “Fear not Mary.” There was the greeting of peace, “Hail O favored one!” There was a gracious act of humility, “I am the servant of the Lord, be it done to me as you say.” The grace of peace, love, intimacy and humility is always beautiful.

Sin is ugly; the grace of God is beautiful. The problem with the world today is that it is preaching the other way around. What is ugly, the world makes beautiful; and what is beautiful, the world makes ugly. The feast of the Immaculate Conception makes it clear to us that sin is always ugly and the grace of God is always beautiful. There is no beauty in pornography because this would lead to more rapes, incestuous unions and sexual abuse of children. There is no beauty in sex outside the context of love and marriage because this would transform persons into mere objects of pleasure and sexual desires. There is no beauty in drugs because this would lead to killings and crimes of violent nature.

May the Blessed Mother make us appreciate more the beauty of a pure heart, a simple lifestyle and a humble service! All of us are sinners, but the blessed Mother will continue to console and inspire us to stand up after every fall. Sometimes we fall to discouragement because of constant sinning, but Mary will always be there to remind us that indeed we are predestined by Christ to be holy and blameless in His sight.

A certain man doubted the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, he prayed devoutly so that he might be enlightened.

While sleeping one night, the man had a dream. He saw an angel who brought him to a village where he found so many houses.

I want you to choose a house for your one and only son,” the angel told him.

The man and the angel went through the village. The man looked very carefully. He loved his son so much that he wanted only the best for him. Since the houses he saw were all old and dilapidated, not one pleased him.

I cannot find a house to fit my son,” the man spoke to the angel. “Would it be possible to build the house I have in mind for him?”

Just describe the house you have in mind,” the angel replied. “It shall be built in no time.”

The man described the house as very clean, beautiful, and perfect. After he had said this, the house appeared in front of him.

Why did you choose this kind of house for your son?” the angel asked him.

How can I allow my son to live in the houses you showed me?” the man replied. “They are all dirty and run-down. I can only desire what is perfect and ideal for my one and only son.”

Your words are the answer to your own doubts,” the angel said.

What doubts?”

You doubt the Immaculate Conception, don’t you?”

Yes,” answered the man, “but I cannot see what it has to do with choosing houses.”

When God searched for a woman to carry the flesh of his son in her womb,” the angel said, “he could not find anyone fit, for all men are imperfect and defiled by sin. In his love and wisdom God had to create a creature, perfect, immaculate and undefiled by sin, in order to carry the flesh of His son. If you, imperfect as you are, can will only what is best for your son, would God think less for his only Son? That is the reason for Mary’s Immaculate Conception. The dwelling of Christ, Mary, must be perfect to bear the Perfect One.”

(From Vestiges of Wisdom: An Anthology of Anecdotes Vol. 2)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ika-2 nga Domingo sa Adbyento (C)

Baruc 5:1-9; Filipos 1:4-6, 8-11; Lukas 3:1-6

“Mohunong pa ba kaha ang mga gira sa kalibutan?” “Magkahigalaay pa ba kaha ang mga Kristiyanos ug mga Muslim?” “Maulian pa ba kaha ang ekolohiya?” “Mosaka pa ba kaha og balik ang ekonomiya?” “Matarong pa ba kaha ang dagan sa atong pulitika?” “Maundang pa ba kaha ang kurakot diha sa gobyerno?” “Mawala pa ba kaha ang druga sa atong katilingban” “Maluwas pa ba kaha sa kapobrehon ang daghang mga tawo?”

Dili kalikayan nga madiskurahe kita nga moatubang aning mga pangutana. Mura man gud og ngitngit kaayo ang padulngan sa kalibutan karon, ilabi na sa mga kabos nga nasod sama sa Pilipinas. Ang kalisod ug kasakit sa mga tawo nagpatongpatong ug daw walay makita nga kasulbaran sa mga suliran.

Niining panahon sa Adbyento, ang liturhiya nagdasig kanato nga magpabilin nga masaligon ug malaumon sa makaluwas nga lihok sa Ginoo. Muabot ang panahon kanus-a ang Dios mopalingkawas kanato gikan sa tanang kalisod ug kasakit. Wala kita masayod sa takna kanus-a kini Niya buhaton, apan makasiguro kita nga Iya gayod kining himoon sama sa Iyang pagluwas sa katawhan sa Israel gikan sa kamot sa mga kaaway ug ilabi na gayud gikan sa gahum sa sala.

Ang ebanghelyo karong Domingoha gisugdan sa usa ka pasiuna nga makasaysayon: “Sa ika-15 ka tuig sa paghari ni emperador Tiberio, kanus-a si Poncio Pilato mao gobernador sa Juda, ug si Herodes nagmando sa Galilea; ug ang iyang igsoon nga si Felipo nagmando sa Ituria ug Traconitide . . . kanus-a si Anas ug Caifas maoy labawng pari, ang Pulong sa Dios miabot kang Juan, anak ni Zacarias, didto sa disyerto.” Dili tuyo ni San Lucas ang pagsulat og kasaysayan kondili ang pagpakita nga dihay higayon sa kasaysayan kanus-a ang Dios mihimo og lakang aron pagluwas sa Iyang katawhan. Gisugdan kini sa Dios pinaagi sa pagdasig kang Juan sa pagsangyaw ug sa pag-andam sa Iyang pag-abot.

Sa maong panahon, ang mga Israelita nag-antos pag-ayo gumikan sa Romanhong imperyalismo. Ang ilang kasinatian dili layo sa ato: nag-antos sila sa grabe nga pangurakot sa ilang mga kadagkoan, nagkabahinbahin ang ilang katawhan, daghan ang nawad-an og pagtoo, adunay insureksyon, ug uban pa. Ingon niini ang ilang sitwasyon sa dihang nagsugod ang Diosnong buhat sa pagpangluwas. Busa, dili kita angay nga mawad-an sa paglaum sa atong kahimtang karon. Hinoon, makighiusa kita sa tibuok Simbahan sa pag-ampo niining panahon sa Adbyento nga muabot na ang Ginoo sa atong kinabuhi aron sa pagdala og kaluwasan.

Aron maandam ang mga Israelita sa pag-abot sa Manluluwas, si Juan nagsangyaw pinaagi sa pag-ingon: “Andama ang dalan sa Ginoo, tul-ira ang iyang agianan. Abunohi ang mga walog ug pataga ang mga bungtod ug bukid. Tul-ira ang tanang hiwi ug taronga ang gansanggansangon, ug ang tanang tawo makakita sa kaluwasan sa Dios.” Kining maong mensahe importante usab para kanato karon nga nagpaabot sa Ginoo nga Manluluwas.

Unsa man ang dalan nga angay natong tul-iron? Unsa pa kondili ang atong kinabuhi ug binuhatan mismo. Undangon na nato ang mga bisyo ug mga buhat nga salawayon. Biyaan nato ang mga binuhatan nga makadaot kanato ug sa atong isigkatawo. Unsa man ang mga walog nga angay natong abunohan? Unsa pa kondili ang atong mga kakulangon sa kinabuhi – kakulang sa disiplina, pagsabot, paghigugma, pagpaambit, pagpasaylo, pagtabang ug uban pa. Unsa man ang mga bungtod ug bukid nga angay natong patagon? Unsa pa kondili ang atong garbo ug kamapahitas-on. Angay kita nga magkat-on sa pagpaubos sa kaugalingon, pagpaminaw sa opinyon sa uban, pagtahod sa kultura ug pagtoo sa isigkaingon, ug uban pa. Kon mahimo nato kini, sigurado dili na magdugay ang Kaluwasan nga atong gipangandoy.

Nindot kayo ang pag-ampo ni San Pablo diha sa ikaduhang pagbasa: “Nga ang inyong gugma motubo ug magdala kaninyo sa mas lawom pa nga kahibalo ug mas tin-aw nga panabot sa unsay maayo, aron nga mahimo kamo nga limpyo og kasingkasing ug dili salawayon alang sa pag-abot ni Cristo. Mapuno unta kamo sa mga bunga sa katarong nga magagikan ni Cristo Jesus, alang sa himaya ug pagdayeg sa Dios.”